Playing In The Band Bertha Mama Tried Mexicali Blues Ramble On Rose Little Red Rooster Bird Song
The Mighty Quinn (Quinn The Eskimo) Dancing In The Street -> Black Muddy River -> Playing In The Band Jam -> I Need A Miracle -> Drums -> Space -> Truckin' -> Smokestack Lightnin' -> Comes A Time -> Around And Around -> Playing In The Band
January 19, 2012 Subject:
Fine performance and pristine SB
I'm going back to listen to first run of shows that I attended in California, the three nights leading up to NYE 1986-87. We had mail order tickets for the first three and a nice crash pad in San Jose, which made not getting in on NYE more tolerable. I'll stick to reviewing the recordings, not my experiences. Outstanding individual song performances here, but the show is really no greater than the sum of its parts, so four stars. It really has to go above and beyond to get five, right - this is the Dead we're reviewing. Of course this was about six months after Jerry's meltdown (Hart's term) so extra attention on ol' Jerry. Wow - tip top shape. BEAUTIFUL string work - fine, precise runs with high energy and intonation. Take a common song like Ramble On Rose and just get lost in the creativity, playfulness and ultimate joy the man could wring out of a guitar. Vocally, so strong, too. After years of slow decline, it's no exaggeration to say that the man found new life. There is a fine Might Quinn here, a song that in my opinion went down hill the longer the Dead played it. It lost the freshness it still has here. The whole band comes through on this recording - I can't describe how clean the sound is. Weir is his usual bold and brash self but has serious lyric lapses affecting multiple songs. He even says during R&R something like "I forgot the words AGAIN". Lots of Brent, who is fairly understated but right on the money. Phil is very creative, too. Definitely a relaxed West coast vibe and an easy, no-forcing it feel. How else do you transition effortlessly from Dancin' In the Street into Black Muddy River? The Push Comes to Shove is also worth a listen - again, Jerry just smacks it, note after note. Still, the show never gets up and over in the twilight zone - there is hardly any space, for one thing, no deep jamming between songs either. But the sound of the band and the sound of Mr. Miller's efforts are beautiful, straight up.